MEET DR. SOPHIA (she/ella)
Hello! I am Dr. Sophia Aguirre -- I am a psychologist, a mother, a wife, a business owner, and a proud first-generation college & graduate student. I am a recovering over-achiever/perfectionist who understands the struggles to create balance, maintain wellness, and achieve self-actualization.
I am the founder & director of the Aguirre Center for Inclusive Psychotherapy where my associates and I provide individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy to adults.
I have training as a generalist, with experience working with a wide spectrum of clients presenting with a wide range of issues. Among my areas of clinical expertise are diversity and identity concerns (ethnicity/cultural, (trans)Gender, and/or sexual orientation), trauma recovery and PTSD, group psychotherapy, sex therapy, women’s issues, and therapy for therapists.
I identify as a Latina/Chicana (Brown mestiza), demi-sexual, cis-het woman. As a first generation Chicana born to immigrant parents from Mexico, I have been raised in a bilingual and bicultural home. Clients who work with me can speak English, Spanish, Spanglish, or mix of these in our sessions.
Licensure, Certifications, & Fellowships
Licensed Psychologist: Georgia #PSY004298 & Oregon #1925
Certified Group Psychotherapist (Certification #053456)
Fellow, American Group Psychotherapy Association
PSYPACT Mobility #4925
Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Auburn University, 2008
In pursuit of my doctorate, I focused my studies on adult psychotherapy and multicultural counseling and the focus of my dissertation research was on exploring the relationship between meaning-making and post-traumatic growth.
I completed an APA-Accredited Psychology Internship Program in the Counseling & Mental Health Center at University of Texas at Austin.
B.S. in Psychology with Honors, The University of Georgia, 2000
My Honors Thesis focused on long-term effects of childhood maltreatment.
Clinical Specialties & Professional Service
Throughout my professional career, I have been committed to the pursuit of educational, training, and professional experiences that promote group psychotherapy and group psychology. In dedication to furthering my therapeutic skills, I attained the credential of Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP) awarded by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists. In 2020, I was elected a Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, an honor and distinction recognizing outstanding professional competence and leadership within field of group psychotherapy.
I am actively involved in my professional community and am passionate about advocating for social justice issues within the field of psychology and group therapy.
Chair, Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, Georgia Psychological Association
Chair, Task Force for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, American Group Therapy Association
Board Member, Atlanta Group Psychotherapy Society
(Past) President, Lane County Psychological Association (2013 - 2014)
(Past) Board Member, Oregon Psychological Organization (2011 - 2015)
Outside of the Office
On a more personal note, I have a passion for exploring the great outdoors (particularly kayaking, hiking, camping, and snowshoeing) with my husband and young daughter. I am a self-proclaimed “foodie” and enjoy art of dressing up and creating costumes. The greatest and most rewarding experience of my life has been mothering my young daughter.
The path towards more self-discovery, growth, and healing is different for everyone. This means that my approach may vary greatly depending on your needs if you should become my client. My goal as your therapist is to create a safe, supportive, therapeutic environment that fosters your well-being, creativity, healing, and growth.
Culturally-Informed & Anti-Oppressive
I welcome the opportunity to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds in my practice. I strive to provide culturally-responsive services that are sensitive to the unique needs and challenges faced by marginalized communities, such as ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities. I have worked extensively with not only Latinx, but also People of Color, including African-American, Asian-American, and multi-ethnic/biracial-identified individuals. My practice is sex-positive, trauma-informed, and affirming of folks from LGBTQ, Kink and Poly/CNM/ENM communities.
I am deeply passionate about social justice and helping all of my clients understand their complex, dynamic identities. Our society operates under a white supremacist system. This historical system of oppression impacts all of us regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, body size, etc. In my work, I utilize an intersectional, culturally-informed approach to understand dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression that have shaped my clients identities and lived experiences. For Latinx folx, an important part of our work is healing the wounds from racial stress and racial trauma (microaggressions, racism, violence, stereotypes, poverty, and discrimination). Furthermore, I honor the cultural practices, traditions, and creativity that have enabled our Latinx communities to overcome oppression and build resilience.
I am also committed to helping my clients develop healthier relationships with their body by examining the detrimental impact of sizism and size oppression on both individual and societal levels. My practice is informed by Health at Every Size principles which include celebrating body diversity, promoting weight/size-inclusivity and advocating for critical awareness cultural messages, structural and systemic forces, and scientific assumptions that contribute to size oppression, fat-shaming, and fat phobia.
While I can never fully understand every facet cultural diversity that comprise my clients’ experience, I practice from a lens of cultural-humility where I continually question my assumptions and explore the limitations of my world-view shaped by my own intersectional identities. I strive to educate myself so that I can more effectively support my clients. To this end, I engage in ongoing personal and professional development opportunities to understand my experiences of power and oppression so that I may provide anti-oppressive, inclusive, and culturally-responsive services to all.
What You Can Expect
In general, I would characterize my approach as genuine, warm, and analytical. My style is generally informal, direct, and transparent in hopes of demystifying the therapy process. I endeavor to create a safe, trusting, non-judgmental atmosphere and to foster a therapeutic relationship that strikes the balance between support and challenge. I work collaboratively with my clients to help them reconnect with their inner strength and wisdom. I am an empathic listener, but I actively participate in sessions by sharing my observations, offering support, and providing insight and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. My clients often comment that my open, direct style creates a sense of safety because they don't have to guess what I am thinking or feeling.
Clients who work with me can expect to focus on their emotion, which means we will seek to accept and deepen an understanding of reactions to various emotions as a means to working through the pain. I may also utilize cognitive, mindfulness-based, and creative arts interventions to find ways to expand your thinking patterns and change unhealthy behaviors. Determining how I adapt my clinical interventions relies heavily on the unique background, presenting concerns, and motivation of you as the client.
My Theoretical Orientation
Although I integrate various psychotherapeutic methods and theoretical orientations in my practice, I work primarily from theoretical perspectives that emphasize the authentic relationships, individual strengths, and the potential for growth. Interpersonal, psychodynamic, attachment, and existential-humanistic theories direct my attention to my client’s current and past relational dynamics as I strongly believe that human beings are primarily motivated by the need to establish and maintain relationships. My primary focus is on the here and now, but I explore my client’s past to provide insight on how early experiences and relationships continue to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the present. Achieving a deeper understanding of yourself will allow you to have more freedom and control over your life. Multicultural and Feminist psychology principles provide the foundation for exploring societal, cultural, and contextual factors and building resilience.